Defendant Convicted of Ordering Two Homicides, and in a Case of Mistaken Identity, Killing the Wrong People
One of the Victims was a 14-Year-Old Boy
Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced that following a two-week trial, a federal jury in Brooklyn returned verdicts yesterday convicting German Dario Polanco of two counts of murder in furtherance of a narcotics conspiracy, and two counts of murder by use of a firearm. When sentenced by Senior United States District Judge David G. Trager, Polanco faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
The evidence at trial established that Polanco was a high-level drug trafficker operating in Brooklyn and Queens during the 1990s and through 2001, responsible for distributing hundreds of kilograms of cocaine through a network of drug distributors and workers. Polanco hired individuals to collect drug debts for him, and authorized the use of threats and violence to collect drug debts. Polanco also committed robberies of other drug dealers and conspired to murder rival drug traffickers.
In August 2000, Polanco hired a drug-dealing associate, Carlos Medina, to murder two individuals, known as “Ronnie” and “El Renco,” whom Polanco believed had robbed one of his stash house locations of $316,000 of drug money. Polanco agreed to pay Medina $15,000 per victim, for a total of $30,000. Medina, in turn, hired two shooters, Manuel Santos and Alex Core, to kill the two men. Polanco also directed another drug-dealing associate, Luis Rodriguez, to supervise Medina and ensure that the “Ronnie” and “El Renco” were murdered. On September 26, 2000, Santos and Core, both armed and accompanied by Medina, staked out “Ronnie’s” house in the Richmond Hill section of Queens. Two individuals exited “Ronnie’s” house later that evening and entered a car parked in an adjacent parking lot. Mistakenly believing that these two individuals were “Ronnie” and “El Renco,” Santos and Core repeatedly fired their weapons, fatally wounding the two victims, 30-year old Jose Libardo Hurtado and his 14-year old step-son, Edgardo Bryan. Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene by representatives from the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office. The evidence at trial established that neither Hurtado nor Bryan was involved in the robbery of Polanco’s stash house. Despite learning that the wrong people had been murdered, Polanco paid Medina the promised $30,000, and directed him to hunt down “Ronnie” and “El Renco.”
Previously, Rodriguez and Santos were convicted at separate trials in Brooklyn federal court for their roles in the two homicides. Rodriguez is awaiting sentencing, and Santos was previously sentenced to life. Medina pled guilty to both homicides and is awaiting sentencing. Core was killed in October 2000 in an unrelated shooting.
“Polanco was the mastermind behind a murder conspiracy that resulted in the tragic deaths of two victims, one of who was a mere child of 14 years,” stated United States Attorney Campbell. “We sincerely hope that this verdict and the convictions of the other co-conspirators will bring a measure of peace and closure to the victims’ families and the community that was shocked by these murders.” Mr. Campbell expressed his grateful appreciation to the Drug Enforcement Administration, and to the many other members of the law enforcement community for their thorough investigation and unwavering effort in this case.
DEA Special Agent-in-Charge John P. Gilbride stated, “German Polanco has been convicted by a jury of his peers. The same community which he terrorized by the use of violence and drug trafficking will now see that he will be held accountable for his actions. This conviction is a reminder to drug trafficking organizations that law enforcement leaves no stone unturned in its pursuit of justice.” SAC Gilbride thanked the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York for this impressive prosecution.
The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Robert L. Capers and Licha M. Nyiendo.
GERMAN DARIO POLANCO
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